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House to Probe N2bn Theft at Mint

House to Probe N2bn Theft at Mint

House to Probe N2bn Theft at Mint
The House of Representatives yesterday resolved to set up a special ad-hoc committee to investigate the alleged diversion of over N2 billion by the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC). This is as it mandated its Committee on Legislative Compliance to ensure that the resolutions of the House on the crash of Dana flight are implemented.

The committee on aviation in December, 2012 recommended, among other things, the removal of the Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Harold Demuren and revocation of Dana’s Airline Operator Certificate (AOC).

Describing as embarrassing and unacceptable the alleged disappearance of N2 billion printed by NSPMC, the House said the matter could not be swept under the carpet. The resolution of the House followed a motion brought to the floor by the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Albert Sam-Tsokwa and over 50 others.

The motion was entitled, “urgent need to investigate the alleged theft of over N2 billion at the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company.” Sam-Tsokwa disclosed that in the first week of December, 2012, a whopping sum of N2.1 billion of newly printed N1,000 notes reportedly disappeared mysteriously in the course of production or from the vaults of NSPMC.

The lawmaker lamented that it was the second known time that huge sums of money would disappear in a controversial and suspicious manner at NSPMC in the course of production of new currency notes.

Tsokwa also noted with concern, the conflicting information that trailed the actual amount that disappeared. According to him, while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor said it was about N2 billion, the managing director of the NSPMC claimed it was only the sum of N1.5 million that was missing while the media adviser to the MD said only N900,000 was missing due to security breach. The adviser also claimed that a security operative was arrested in Lagos with the money.

He dismissed the sacking of 39 workers of the company over the missing money. Insisting that the matter should not be swept under the carpet, he prayed the House to constitute a special adhoc committee to carry out an investigation into the allegation and other related issues and report to the House within four weeks. A member of the House tried to bring an amendment to the prayer so that the House Committee on Banking and Currency would conduct the probe.

But the attempt was truncated as members overwhelmingly voted against it, thereby leaving the only prayer by the sponsors of the motion to stand. Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, pledged that the House would get to the root of the matter. He said an adhoc committee would be set up to get to the details of the matter. Meanwhile, the House has asked the executive to immortalise the first finance minister, Festus Okotiebo-Eboh.

The man was killed in the first military coup 47 years ago. Endorsing a motion raised by Daniel O. Reyenieju, the lawmakers said the man worked for the unity and progress of the country and therefore deserved recognition like other leaders who were killed during the bloody coup.

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